Role of L1 in the English classroom Dannae Del Campo Méndez Language acquisition and how people learn a language are discussions directlyrelated to education. That is why some authors have guided their attention to thefirst and second language learning, the language acquisition and the importanceof L1 in the learning process of L2. Authors as Cook refer to the child differencesin the learning process of L1 and L2 dividing them in eight main ideas in which wecan find factors such as: the children’s behavior, emotional life, needs andinterests, mental capacity, and others… with these factors in mind Cook (2011)specifies that the environment in the classroom “is likely to be freer, morespontaneous, with less direction by the teacher and less control of the language”(para.37). To complement Kook’s words is Krashen, he focuses on the topic of“first language interference” and how this may affect the learning of an L2. Hisresearches demonstrate three cases in which the role of the mother tonguemakes interference in the second language performance. Krashen (1981) pointedout that the mother tongue “appears to be strongest in complex word order andin word-for-word translations of phrases”, “first language influence is weaker inbound morphology”, and also that “first language influence seems to be strongestin acquisition poor environments”. Newmark’s work (1997) suggests that the curefor this interference of L1 is simply the cure for ignorance, this means, learning.To develop the topic of “first language acquisition” from different points of viewsis Freeman. He explains insights from sociology, linguistics and psychology.Moreover he describes two views or methods about language development in theareas of reading and writing, one view is that language is learn and the other oneis that language is acquired.
As a personal opinion after reading these different texts I can say how importantis for future teachers to acquire this knowledge. The authors focused on differentfeatures yet all of them demonstrated with facts, researches, studies, etc… howimportant is the acquisition of a language and at the same time how this affects inthe process of learning a second language, as English is for us. In Cooks’s words(2011) and refering directly to language teachers with a wise reasoning , is thathe insists that teachers might consider children’s needs in the classroom ratherthan in their foreseeable future, in this way their motivation is more powerful andit will be easier to catch their attention. Moreover Cook (2011) kept maintainingmy interest and at the same time changing my perspective of the development ofa class with certain important points which I totally ignore before reading thistext. One of these points is the fact that L2 can have more ability to learn syntax,because it has the example of L1 structure, but at the same time we can learnfrom krashen’s words (1981) that L1 can make interferences on L2, so it madethink how thin is the line between how helpful can L1 be and how it can guidestudents to commit mistakes. On the other hand, we have Freeman (2004) whoexplained different insights which, personally, I did not thought about before,students always tend to think about the linguistic insight although the sociologicvision it is also important. Freeman (2004) notes “the best support that adults cangive to children is to encourage them to initiate conversation and make it easyand enjoyable” (para.32), in this way they can modify the things they say whichare incorrect with adults’ help. Moreover Freeman (2004) also explain howaffective factors can make adults hesitate at the moment of learn a new language,we are going to work with teenagers who are forming their selves to becomeadults, so it’s our responsibility to find the way of making them realize that thereis no point in hesitation but to demonstrate them and give them the confidence
to start talking and learning English. Finally, and as a conclusion, as a futureteacher is important and it’s my responsibility to commit myself with what I juststudied and put everything in practice in an appropriate way so that I can teachefficiently.
References- Cook, V. (2011). Second Language Learning and Language Teaching (3rd ed.)- Krashen, S. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. University ofSouthern California.- Freeman, D. & Freeman, Y. (2004). Essential Linguistics What you need to know to teachreading, ESL, Spelling, Phonics, Grammar. Heinemann.